Barcelona tackled this fixture with palpable ferocity, and put themselves in tremendous position to close out this tie at home in a very favorable environment. While it would have been fantastic to go up two-zip against Atlético Madrid, it is still a very positive result what with the away goals, and the fact that playing against Simeone’s team is demanding. Certainly, Lucho’s starting eleven gave hope as to which Barcelona would show up: the team that struggles to press and doesn’t provide any midfield support for the trio up front, or the capable unit with good movement off the ball, a clear idea on what pressing constitutes, and terrific passing. With the skipper playing three midfielders that are very defensive, chances were they wouldn’t let themselves be dominated like the unit that played against Betis on the weekend.
The match, overall, was tremendously entertaining. Yes, Barcelona seemed to be barely holding on there at the end, but it was still a fast-paced, aggressive affair. I can easily say the first half was more entertaining, clearly, as a Barça fan, but even the second half was absurdly engaging. One good sight in the second half was Rafinha’s return. He had to play a portion of a game made difficult by Atleti’s renewed aggressiveness and high pressure. The cules were struggling to play from the back and nobody could hold on to the ball for long. Rafinha was not only able to hold on to the ball, but also managed to break the high press with some delectable change of pace.
Irish Goat’s Gamboling Goleadores!
1st Goleador: Lionel Messi
Well, that’s one way to avoid that whole “disallowing an obvious goal” thing. All you must do is destroy one into the back of the net with about fifty thousand people watching intently. When Messi gets the ball, and gets into that lethal saunter of his, the sense of doom is palpable as he is capable of undoing the opposition. Impeccable game from the little genius.
2nd Goleador: Luis Suárez
That was a beauty of a goal. That was almost indecent. He gets the second spot with a doubt. That goal made me feel so good I am sure it is illegal somewhere.
3rd Goleador: André Gomes
Easily the best player in the midfield, he earns the third spot. It was also the best I remember him playing all year, but I might be forgetting a couple of performances here and there. I hope to see more performances like this from him, and more play time from the skipper.
As always Visca Barça!